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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 131968
Last updated: 24 August 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206L-1 LongRanger II
Owner/operator:Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters
Registration: N444CR
MSN: 45325
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Tusayan, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: Taxi
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Tusayan, AZ
Destination airport:Tusayan, AZ
Investigating agency: NTSB
On August 7, 1993, about 17:03 hours MST (Mountain Standard Time), a Bell 206L1, N444CR, collided with a second Bell 206L3, N38903, while hover taxiing to a parking pad at the Papillon company heliport, Tusayan, Arizona. Both helicopters were operated by Papillon Airways, Inc., Kirkland, Washington, under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations as on demand air taxi sightseeing flights over the Grand Canyon National Park. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and both flights were on company VFR flight plans. Both helicopters were destroyed in the collision sequence.

Each helicopter had seven occupants for a total of 14 persons involved. The pilot of N444CR was not injured, however, three passengers sustained serious injuries and three passengers incurred minor injuries. The pilot of N38903 was not injured, however, the six passengers on board incurred minor injuries. The flight of N444CR, using company call sign "Copter Four," originated from the Papillon heliport on the day of the mishap at 1633 hours and was returning to the heliport after completing a sight seeing tour of the park. N38903, using company call sign "Copter Eight," was awaiting a takeoff clearance from the company ramp controller to begin an aerial sight seeing tour of the Grand Canyon National Park.

The Papillon company heliport in Tusayan has six parking pads, numbered from zero to five, which are oriented on a north to south crescent shaped line with pad zero at the north end. A common approach zone for all of the parking pads is located behind pads two and three. Company helicopters make approaches to a hover in the approach area, then must hover taxi to their assigned parking pads. The movement area is controlled by a company ramp controller stationed in a tower near the north end of the parking pads. Papillon Helicopters employs 16 helicopters in their Grand Canyon sightseeing operations from the heliport.

At the time that Copter Four made an approach to a hover in the common approach area, pads one through five were occupied by other helicopters. Copter Eight was on pad one ready to liftoff. The ramp controller instructed Copter Eight to hold in position then cleared Copter Four to proceed to pad zero for parking. Copter Four then hover taxied from the approach area behind the helicopters on pads two and one toward pad zero on the north end of the line.

The taxi lane along the pads is between the helicopters on the pads and a chain link fence. Initial measurements indicate that the taxiing helicopter had about seven feet of clearance between its main rotor and both the fence and the rotor of N38903 on pad 0. As Copter Four approached pad zero, and was nearly abeam Copter Eight, the main rotors of the two helicopters meshed and the aircraft came together.

The pilot of N444CR stated that he was hovering onto pad O at a torque setting of about 80 to 85% in close proximity of copter number 8 (N38903), at the speed of about a walk. "I experienced a gust of wind and the very next thing I remember I was sitting on the ground with wreckage all around me."

According to the pilot of N38903, he was holding position as per instructions from the company control tower. He stated that he was at 100 % RPM with no collective input at the time of the collision.


1. NTSB Identification: LAX93FA316A at

Revision history:

28-Aug-2016 19:22 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Total occupants, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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